Today I’ve got some tips for:
Whether you are just starting your memoir, or have filled several notebooks/computer files full of memories, you will need a system for EASY retrieval when it comes time to actually write your memoir. Remember, the best memoir/history writers begin with data gathering, not writing. Writing before gathering is a no-no! (I’ll do a blog post about this later)
So as you jot down your many memories, here’s how you can organize them:
Put them into a spreadsheet!
This allows you to search your notes by date, keyword, month or time of year, etc.
Here’s a screen shot of what my memoir notes look like, after I’ve jotted them down in notebooks and taken them to my computer where I can more safely store and organize them:
Can you see how easy it will be for me to sort my memories by date? I can also add locations, too, so that I can sort my memories by where I was living or where I was when they occurred (locations such as “Grandma’s House” or “Marci’s House”).
Also, if you are writing a family history or ancestoir (memoir with ancestral threads in it) you will want to keep a spreadsheet of any memories you log about your ancestors, too. here’s how mine looks:
Once again, you can see how much easier it will be to assemble this information into coherent paragraphs, once you can search it by date, keyword, source, person, etc. And Excel will let you sort the entire sheet according to each column, which is SO helpful!
Also, remember that you can keep all of these databases in ONE sheet, to save time, by simply clicking on the tabs at the bottom of each sheet and giving them names, like this:
So, in preparation for tomorrow’s “Write on Wednesday,” let’s take a few minutes today and organize our notes before tomorrow’s typefest!